Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 27, 2018

Previous Week   July 02, 2018 - July 08, 2018  Next Week

AK-47 goes into production in the Soviet Union on July 06, 1947

AK-47 goes into production in the Soviet Union on July 06, 1947

AK-47 goes into production in the Soviet Union: This day in history, one of the most famous assault rifles, goes into production in the Soviet Union: AK-47. Today, the weapon is part of the armament of many infantry armies, drug traffickers and terrorists.

The “Avtomat Kalashnikova” is Mikhail Kalashnikov’s invention. It is said that he was inspired to build a weapon during WWII after he was badly injured and he couldn’t serve his country anymore. Therefore he tried to help his country by listening to the soldiers. He found out that many of the wounded Soviet soldiers were complaining about the poor quality of Soviet small weapons.

What made AK-47 so popular?

It is believed that the AK-47 gained its popularity thanks to the accuracy. In fact, the weapon is used close-range combat situations, rather than distant engagements. So, most likely, AK-47 is popular for other reasons.

The weapon was designed to be easy to use, to repair and reliable. Also it can be used in any conditions: sand, mud, dirt, etc. Therefore, the AK-47 selling arguments are the simplicity and its ability to “adapt” in any condition. Its firing mechanism is so simple that the gun jams very rarely. In conclusion, the gun has a lifespan between 20 and 40 years.

A deadly inspiration?

AK-47: Avtomat Kalashnikov 1947. It is believed that the rifle is actually a combination of previous riffles. Mikhail Kalashnikov combined the features of the American M1 and the German StG44.

It is not very easy for a person to create a weapon that probably killed hundreds of thousands of people. However, Mikhail Kalashnikov said he was not troubled by the influence of his rifle. Even more, he declared that he sleeps very well and the persons to blame for using the weapon are the politicians, according to an interview from 2007. On the other hand, he also blamed the Nazis for making him to become a gun designer:

“Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer. I always wanted to construct agricultural machinery.” (M. Kalashnikov)

Five Facts

• Mozambique is the only country that has the AK-47 on its flag.

• Mikhail Kalashnikov museum from Izhevsk, Russia, attracts more than 10,000 visitors per month.

• There are an estimated 100 million AK-47 spread across the globe, which made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most widely spread weapon in the world.

• Acording to Oxford University, the average global price of AK-47 is estimated at $550. Though in the African countries the price is around $350.

• Mikhail Kalashnikov didn’t cash a cent for his invention. More exactly he didn’t patent the design. However he managed to license his name to two vodka makers.

History Key / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Popular Mechanics / Biography / Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov (YouTube) video

Frank family takes refuge on July 06, 1942

Frank family takes refuge on July 06, 1942

Frank family takes refuge: In Nazi-occupied Holland, 13-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family are forced to take refuge in a secret sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse. The day before, Anne’s older sister, Margot, had received a call-up notice to be deported to a Nazi “work camp”.

Born in Germany on June 12, 1929, Anne Frank fled to Amsterdam with her family in 1933 to escape Nazi persecution. In the summer of 1942, with the German occupation of Holland underway, 12-year-old Anne began a diary relating her everyday experiences, her relationship with her family and friends, and observations about the increasingly dangerous world around her. On July 6, fearing deportation to a Nazi concentration camp, the Frank family took shelter in a factory run by Christian friends. During the next two years, under the threat of murder by the Nazi officers patrolling just outside the warehouse, Anne kept a diary that is marked by poignancy, humor, and insight.

On August 4, 1944, just two months after the successful Allied landing at Normandy, the Nazi Gestapo discovered the Frank’s “Secret Annex”. The Franks were sent to the Nazi death camps along with two of the Christians who had helped shelter them, and another Jewish family and a single Jewish man with whom they had shared the hiding place. Anne and most of the others ended up at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Anne’s diary was left behind, undiscovered by the Nazis.

In early 1945, with the Soviet liberation of Poland underway, Anne was moved with her sister, Margot, to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Suffering under the deplorable conditions of the camp, the two sisters caught typhus and died in early March. After the war, Anne’s diary was discovered undisturbed in the Amsterdam hiding place and in 1947 was translated into English and published. An instant best-seller and eventually translated into more than 30 languages, The Diary of Anne Frank has served as a literary testament to the six million Jews, including Anne herself, who were silenced in the Holocaust.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Anne Frank.org / Biography / Anne Frank (The Whole Story) (YouTube) video

Understanding Military Terminology: Scout of Many Trails (Sea Scout and Boy Scout look at globe with old sailor) ~ Norman Rockwell

Understanding Military Terminology - Minimum force

(DOD) Those minimum actions, including the use of armed force, sufficient to bring a situation under control or to defend against hostile act or hostile intent, where the firing of weapons is to be considered as a means of last resort.

Joint Publications (JP 3-07.3) Peace Operations

U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Washington (U.S.Navy.mil)

The Old Salt’s Corner

Intelligence WORK CENTERS

The ship’s intelligence work centers coordinate to provide the commanding officer or higher embarked authority with the most up-to-date tactical picture. Most ships will have some kind of intelligence coordination center and personnel assigned to it in either a primary or collateral duty. Of course, the ultimate intelligence fusion center is found on the carrier itself. Smaller ships in the battlegroup act as information gatherers, reporting sensor and positional data in real time to the carrier. The total intelligence fusion effort then takes place across many different platforms and work centers. Learning where you fit in is crucial to maximizing your effectiveness as a reservist.

The carrier CVIC is the largest single intelligence work center in the battlegroup. We will start there and examine how the intelligence effort is divided into not one but several areas on and off the carrier itself.


CVIC is only one part of the total intelligence effort on board the carrier. It is considered to have two major functional groups; Mission Planning (MP) and Multi-Sensor Interpretation (MSI). Overall, the CVIC must be responsive to the air wing, ship, and embarked staff(s). This involves a great deal of coordination with other functional areas including Operations, Weapons, Strike Operations, EW, SSES, and many other non-organic sources to be effective. The flow of information between CVIC and other intelligence work centers on the carrier is the key to success. CVIC continually strives to maintain a comprehensive, current and accurate operational intelligence picture.

CVIC provides the embarked air wing with the capability to process and analyze collected information rapidly, combine it with other tactical intelligence, and correlate this data with other information in the database. The CVIC can generate mission planning material for the embarked commander and air intelligence briefing and planning materials.

The major physical sections of CVIC include:

• Mission Planning (MP) - Debriefing Area

• Multi-Sensor Interpretation (MSI) - Chart Vault

• Photo Lab - Strike Plot

• Library - Sensitive Compartmented Intelligence Facility (SCIF)


Note that MSI, MP, Strike Plot, Administration Spaces, Library, SCIF, and Photo Lab are what physically constitute a CVIC. The SSES, SUPPLOT, Main Photo Lab, and Chart Vault, although closely associated with CVIC, are normally located in different areas of the carrier.

1. Mission Planning (MP)

The main mission planning areas of support are flight operations and strike support. Individual functions within mission planning generally fall into two categories: photographic reconnaissance and strike mission planning.

2. Multi-Sensor Interpretation (MSI)

The second major group within CVIC is multi-sensor interpretation (MSI) which focuses on collection, reporting and reconnaissance. It is defined as the employment of two or more sensors simultaneously or covering of the same target with two or more sensors on the same mission. The "products" of MSI are reports generated from multi-sensor analyses such as TARPS photography from F-14s and ISAR imagery from ES-3Bs). MSI contributes to the overall strike support readiness effort. When considering MSI systems there are two areas of concern: reconnaissance and interpretation.

MSI Reconnaissance is concerned with collecting intelligence. Ideal reconnaissance systems should have all of the following basic capabilities; all weather performance, day and night performance, provide location of target data, identification and status of target(s), and good resolution. Multi-sensor systems currently include; optical photography, side looking airborne radar (SLAR), synthetic aperture radar (SAR), inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR), infrared systems (IR), LASER systems, and passive electronic countermeasures (PECM). Combining sensors usually results in producing the greatest amount of intelligence data about a potential target.

There are several MSI systems in this area: NIPS A/B, PC-NIPS , GCCS-M, JDDS, STRED, and GALE LITE. The CVIC may also have access to tactical circuits such as TACINTEL, TADIXS-A, OTCIXS, TDDS, TADIXS-B, and TIBS. Later modules will cover these systems in depth.

3. Strike Mission Planning (STRIKE PLOT)

The CVIC mission planning area provides pilots with an area to prepare for upcoming missions. Here the pilot and intelligence officer will find all the tools and intelligence data required for planning the mission. All pre-mission intelligence briefings are given from CVIC and disseminate out to the individual squadron ready rooms over the Secure Closed Circuit Television System (SCCTV) which is described in Module 10. Post-flight debriefings are also conducted either in this area or some other specially designated area. Mission Planning utilizes a host of specialized electronic systems. These systems also will be discussed in detail later in Module 9.

4. CVIC Photo Lab

All incoming film collected by airborne platforms (e.g., helicopters and TARPS missions) and the ship’s onboard sighting team is developed and processed in the photo lab. It is then taken to the multi-sensor interpretation (MSI) area located in CVIC for analysis, evaluation and dissemination to operators.

5. Library

This area is a collection of various publications frequently used by intelligence personnel in CVIC. It can include both classified and unclassified data. There are various commercially available as well as classified GENSER publications found here dealing with worldwide combat fleets, weapons systems and aircraft. Also found in CVIC libraries are hard copies of some electronic displays, microfiche collections, and CD-ROMs.

6. Debriefing Area

Aircrew are debriefed in this are following mission completion to assess the overall success or possible shortcomings of the mission. Debriefing is discussed in the next module.

7. Sensitive Compartmented Intelligence Facility (SCIF)

The SCIF is a special restricted area where Top Secret/SCI material is stored. The SCIF is managed by the Special Security Officer (SSO) and reports directly to the ship’s Intelligence Officer. Special access is required to utilize information stored in this area.

FAS.org / Module 6 — Intelligence WORK CENTERS

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“There are in nature

neither rewards nor punishments,

there are consequences.”

“He stands erect by bending

over the fallen.

He rises by lifting others.”

~ Robert G. Ingersoll

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Three may keep a secret,

if two of them are dead.”

“They that can give up essential liberty

to obtain a little temporary safety

deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Envy is a waste of time.

You already have all you need.”

~ Anonymous

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Research on dogs might shed light on human responses to food: study

Research on dogs might shed light on human responses to food: study

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Researchers in Hungary who found that normal and overweight dogs behaved differently in tasks involving food say the dogs’ responses were similar to what might be expected in normal and overweight humans.

The study suggested dogs could be used as models for future research into the causes and psychological impacts of human obesity, the authors of the paper from Budapest’s ELTE University said.

The study found that canines of a normal weight continued obeying instructions to check the second bowl for food, but the obese ones refused after a few rounds.

“We expected the overweight dog to do anything to get food, but in this test, we saw the opposite. The overweight dogs took a negative view”, test leader Orsolya Torda said.

“If a situation is uncertain and they cannot find food, the obese dogs are unwilling to invest energy to search for food - for them the main thing is to find the right food with least energy involved.”

The behavior had possible parallels with overweight people who see food as a reward, said the paper published in the Royal Society Open Science journal.

Reuters (06/13/2018) video

Why Did Russia Sell Alaska to the United States of America?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Did Russia Sell Alaska to the United States of America?

Though Cold War rivalry endures as an image of Russo-American relations, the two great nations have a history of pragmatic deal-making, which reached its zenith with the sale of Russia’s Alaskan Peninsula to America. The deal was born not of the Russian Empire’s rivalry with the United States, but through both countries’ competition with Britain, whose Empire made it the most powerful nation of the age, one with a truly global presence.

Russia and Britain had already faced off in the Crimean War, which had begun in October 1853, and saw Anglo-French forces lined up against a Russian and Ottoman alliance. Though, as the name suggests, the conflict was concentrated on Russia’s south-west flank, it also spread to the Pacific, when a fleet of Russian cruisers based in Siberian ports threatened Britain’s trading links with California. A combined British and French squadron was assembled at Honolulu and on July 25th, 1854 it set sail in pursuit of the Russian ships. Having taken the weakly defended port of Sitka in Alaska, they then headed south for Petropavlovsk, which ended in catastrophe for the allies.

Even so, Russia remained fearful of British ambitions in the Pacific. Vancouver Island, just off the mainland of western Canada, was already a British Crown Colony and the population of neighbouring British Columbia was increasing rapidly, as gold prospectors rushed west. Plans were advanced to incorporate the territory formally into the Empire. This meant that Britain’s possessions in North America would now share a land border with Russia.

Alaska was difficult to defend, given the awesome supply lines, and so Tsar Alexander II decided to sell up. In 1859 he approached both Britain and the US as potential buyers. The former showed little interest, while the latter was too distracted by the impending Civil War to give it enough thought. When that war came to an end in 1865, interest was rekindled and the tsar instructed his ambassador to the U.S., Edward de Stoeckl, to begin formal negotiations with Secretary of State, William Seward. Not only did the potential deal offer a considerable expansion of U.S. territory - at more than 600,000 square miles it is twice the size of Texas - and a strategic location between Russia and British North America, but it was also a useful distraction from the fraught issue of post-Civil War Reconstruction.

After an all-night negotiating session, the treaty was signed at 4am on March 30th, 1867. The agreed price was $7.2 million, equivalent to around $120 million today, which works out at about two cents an acre.

Captain Alexei Peschkurov handed over the territory to his opposite number with the words:

By authority from his Majesty, the Emperor of Russia, I transfer to the United States the territory of Alaska.

Just a few Russian fur traders and Orthodox priests remained behind and it was not until the Klondike gold rush of 1896 that Alaska attracted new settlers in numbers.

A myth arose that the purchase of Alaska was unpopular with the U.S. public and the deal was certainly criticised by some commentators as ‘Seward’s Folly’. Today, its reputation for eccentricity and rugged individualism endears and unnerves in equal measures.

Alaska became the 49th state of the US on January 3rd, 1959. Despite its barely tapped mineral riches, it is claimed by some economists that Alaska’s tax revenues and resource royalties have never exceeded the cost to the federal government of governing a largely untamed territory of this size.

Encyclopedia BritannicaOffice of the HistorianHistory TodayLibrary of CongressQuoraSmithsonianWikipedia Alaska Purchase (YouTube) video

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Squid: a HIGHER form of MARINE life.

Stacking: The act of crapping on top of some one elses crap when the toilets are secured.

Stain Us: Derogatory name for USS JOHN C STENNIS (CVN-74).

Stand By: To wait, can also be to foreshadow chastisement or punishment from a superior.

Stand by to stand by: Waiting to find out why everyone is waiting for something to maybe happen.

Standard Navy Redundancy Standard: The near universal habit of repeating the last word in an acronym, e.g. MRC Card: literally Maintenance Requirement Card Card, LEO Ops: Law Enforcment Operations Ops; etc.

Star tight: See “Gronk”.

Starboard: Right side of the boat or ship (when facing the bow). Right side of an aircraft when facing the nose.

Steel Beach Picnic: Celebration on the weather decks of a ship. Usually involving near beer and barbecue.

Stepping in the shit: Refers to a sailor that has made a mistake so large, that it comes to the attention of the Commanding Officer, who instantly begins chewing him out on the spot, Usually remarked on before the Commanding Officer appears, e.g. “Oh, man, did you just step in the shit.”.

Storecritter: An old fashioned term for the storekeepler rating, now called logies.

Striker: Sailor receiving on-the-job training for a designated field (or rate).

Sticks: The levers in the Maneuvering Room of a diesel submarine that are used to change the settings for the main propuslion motors.

Stroked Chit: Refers to a form of point deduction during boot camp, a stroked chit is a loss of five points to the company per grading period (one week) until Pass in Review.

Spudlocker: Area below the ramp of an aircraft carrier. Landing in the spudlocker results in a broken aircraft and is often fatal. Also used for a potato (spud) storage room.

Stupid: Adjective for remedial training. I had to attend stupid-shoot and stupid-swim after the other trainees were at the club drinking 15-cent beers.

Sucking Rubber (Submarine Service): Extended periods wearing Emergency Air Breathing devices (EABs), a full-face air mask similar to that worn by firefighters, except fed from ship's emergency air system rather than a bottle on one's back. Also refers to wearing a gas mask such as the MCU-2P for protection against chemical, biological or radiological attack.

Sucking Sarah: Derogatory term used to describe the USS Saratoga (CV-60), also called “The Sucking 60 from Dixie.”

Summer Creases: A term used to mock someone with a wrinkled shirt. “I see you have summer creases in your shirt. Some'are here, some'are there, some'are everywhere.”

Super goat: A chief warrant officer.

SUPPO: Supply Officer on ship.

Surge: A ship deployment from its home port usually lasting 3 to 6 months, as can occur outside of the normal cruise cycle due to operational commitments.

Swab: Mop.

Swabbie: Sailor.

SWAG: Sonar's/Scientific Wild Ass Guess.

Swallow the anchor: Retire.


(1) Any evolution or situation, to be performed by an individual, a ship, or even larger unit, subject to scrutiny by a superior, such as a major inspection;

(2) An evolution that involves one sailor working while his/her superiors are watching and waiting impatiently. (3) A task that has to be done yesterday.

Sweat pump(s) / Sweat pump(s) on line/ on overload: See “sweat the load.”

Sweat the load: Personal stress about being able to perform some task; to feel stress about a situation. see also The Load.

Swims: Viation water survival training. This 2-day class must be completed every few years by pilots and aircrew. Consists of classroom and pool instruction and culminates with the dreaded “Dilbert Dunker” and “Helo Dunker”.

Swinging Dick: Spoken by Marines, and sailors to refer to healthy shipmates while on maneuvers, e.g. “I want every swinging dick on station, right this second.”

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Work your Bolt: Resort to special measures, either by energy or guile, in order to attain a particular end; from the action of racking a rifle's bolt to clear a stoppage.

YATYAS or YAT YAS: You ain't tracks, You ain't shit, an amtrac slogan or term for AAV Marines.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VFA-131 - “Wild Cats”
Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, U.S. - Established October 2, 1983

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? &ldquoThe Acid Test”

The Acid Test:”  Meaning: A sure test, giving an incontestable result.

History: Gold prospectors and dealers need to be able to distinguish gold from base metal. The original acid test was developed in the late 18th century and relied on nitric acid's ability to dissolve other metals more readily than gold. To confirm that a find was gold it was given 'the acid test'. A test sample was used to mark a touchstone and the degree to which it dissolved when the acid was added determined whether it was gold. Various other later tests also used acid and these are all called 'acid tests'.

The earliest citation I have found of a figurative use of the phrase (that is, one where no actual test is performed) is from the Wisconsin paper The Columbia Reporter, November 1845:

“Twenty-four years of service demonstrates his ability to stand the acid test, as Gibson’s Soap Polish has done for over thirty years.”

A punning variant of the term arose in the 1960s hippy community. Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters began holding 'Acid Test' parties in San Francisco in 1965. The attendees were serenaded by The Grateful Dead and given drinks of Kool-Aid spiked with lysergic acid diethylamide. 'Acid' was of course the colloquial name of LSD. It's not clear exactly what was being tested; survival possibly. The 'test' parties were referred to in Jefferson Airplane's 1965 A Song for All Seasons:

“Since the acid test...”

&They say your drummer he's crazy as a loon

Last night they found him baying at the moon.”

'The Acid Test' was also source material for the lewd wordplay:

“Absinthe makes the fart grow stronger”

Phrases.org UK

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

The Secrets of Summer 2018's Greatest Movie Stunts and Effects - Every summer, Hollywood goes big. Big stars. Big budgets and huge visual effects. This summer’s technology is more spectacular than ever. We went behind the scenes to see how magic is made in 2018.Here Is the Advanced Attack Submarine the U.S. Navy Never BuiltMoving More With Less: Why Four-Cylinders Are Coming to Full-Size TrucksUnseen Oceans: How the American Museum of Natural History Builds a New ExhibitThe Marines Finally Pick a New Amphibious Vehicle To Replace Their Aging RideBourbon Vs. Bourbon: Did Whiskey Really Taste Better in the 1800s?

Popular Mechanics

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Mystery “Dogman” Beast Shot in Montana Was Just a Gray Wolf, DNA Shows

Mystery “Dogman” Beast Shot in Montana Was Just a Gray Wolf, DNA Shows

A mysterious “canid animal” shot by a Montana rancher in May had wildlife officials scratching their heads about what kind of beast it was, but DNA testing finally has answers.

It resembled a wolf - mostly - though some features were distinctly un-wolflike, which led to some pretty wild speculation about whether it was a dire wolf (they're long-extinct, so definitely not), a dog-wolf hybrid (dogs and wolves can interbreed) or perhaps a dog-human hybrid (seriously, people?), The Washington Post previously reported.

But DNA analysis showed that the beast wasn't so mysterious after all, and it was merely a gray wolf (Canis lupus), from the northern Rocky Mountains. [My, What Big Teeth: Wolves Gallery]

Mystery “Dogman” Beast Shot in Montana Was Just a Gray Wolf, DNA Shows

Tests conducted at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) forensic laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, put the wild rumors about the wild canid to rest. After comparing the animal's DNA with thousands of samples taken from wolves, dogs and coyotes, lab officials confirmed the suspicions of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' (MFWP) wildlife health lab — that the mystery canid was a female gray wolf, and “a relatively normal looking” one at that, MFWP representatives said in a statement.

She was probably about 2 or 3 years old, weighing about 85 pounds (39 kilograms) and measuring nearly 4 feet (1 meter) from nose to rump when she was killed, MFWP officials reported. Adult gray wolves typically weigh between 70 and 110 pounds, and can measure up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long, according to the FWS.

Mystery “Dogman” Beast Shot in Montana Was Just a Gray Wolf, DNA Shows

And though her dark brown color is unusual in gray wolves, which are typically a mix of brown and gray with lighter fur on their legs and bellies, their coats can also be solid brown, black or white, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

However, her legs were shorter than is normal for wolves, and her ears were unusually large, which fueled confusion about her species. Upon closer inspection, officials noted that the size of her paws and canines (too small and too short, respectively) also called into question whether she was truly a wolf.

The female wasn't lactating when she was killed, so it's unlikely that she had the opportunity to pass along her unusual physical features to a litter of pups. However, it's possible that genes for these deviations in her limbs, teeth and ears could be carried by her siblings and parents, and so may surface in Montana again, possibly sparking more mistaken sightings of wolf-dog hybrids, long-extinct dire wolves, or the mythical wolf-human cryptid known as Dogman.

Live Science (05/09/2018) video

© CEASAR CHOPPY by cartoonist Marty Gavin - archives Ceasar Choppy's Navy! “© CEASAR CHOPPY” by Marty Gavin


“Free Fallin” - Tom Petty 1989

“Free Fallin” - Tom Petty
Album: Full Moon Fever
Released 1989 video

Jeff Lynne, famous for his work iat first record with Jeff Lynne, Full Moon Fever, that was an amazing time for me because it was mostly just the three of us - me and Tom and Jeff - working at my house. Jeff Lynne is an amazing record-maker. It was so exciting for a lot of reasons. First of all, our band energy in the studio had gotten into kind of a rut, we were having some issues with our drummer and just kind of at the end of our rope in terms of inspiration - having a lot of trouble cutting tracks in the studio.n ELO, produced the Full Moon Fever album and wrote this song with Tom Petty early in their collaboration. According to liner notes in Petty's Playback box set, he and Jeff Lynne were playing some elaborate stuff on the keyboard that all started with three simple chords. Lynne suggested that Tom stop all the hard stuff and just sing some words to those three chords, and he came up with “She's a good girl... loves her mama...” just to make Jeff smile, and they kept going from there. Petty says that it was Lynne who came up with the title, but it took Tom a little while before he figured out the best way to sing the phrase.

Mike Campbell is The Heartbreakers' guitarist. He has also produced and written the music for many of their songs, as well as “The Boys of Summervideo and “The Heart Of The Mattervideo for Don Henley. Mike told us about working with Jeff Lynne:

“When we did that first record with Jeff Lynne, Full Moon Fever, that was an amazing time for me because it was mostly just the three of us - me and Tom and Jeff - working at my house. Jeff Lynne is an amazing record-maker. It was so exciting for a lot of reasons. First of all, our band energy in the studio had gotten into kind of a rut, we were having some issues with our drummer and just kind of at the end of our rope in terms of inspiration - having a lot of trouble cutting tracks in the studio.

This project came along and really we were just doing it for fun at the beginning, but Jeff would come in and every day he would blow my mind. It was so exciting to have him and Tom come over and go, 'OK, here's this song,' and then Jeff would just go. I'd never seen this done before, he'd say, 'OK, here's what we're going to do: Put a drum machine down. Now put up a mic, we're going to do some acoustic guitars. Put up another mic, were going to do a keyboard. OK, here's an idea for the bass. Mike, let's try some guitar on this. I've got an idea for a background part here...'

Sure enough, within five or six hours, the record would be done, and we'd just sit back and go, “How the f-ck did you do that?' We were used to being in the studio and like 'OK, here's how the song goes' and everybody would set up to play and just laboriously run the song into the ground, and it usually got worse and worse from trying to get the groove and the spirit and trying to get a performance out of five guys at once. This guy walked in and he knew exactly how to put the pieces together, and he always had little tricks, like with the background vocals how he would slide them in and layer them, and little melodies here and there. Tom and I were soaking it up. Pretty amazing, a very exciting time, like going to musical college or something.” (Read more of the interview with Mike Campbell.)

In a 2006 interview with Esquire magazine, Petty said: “'Free Fallin' is a very good song. Maybe it would be one of my favorites if it hadn't become this huge anthem. But I'm grateful that people like it.”

Directed by Julien Temple, the music video was ahead of its time in that it featured skateboarding before the X Games existed and action sports went mainstream. Legendary skater Mark “Gator” Rogowski appears in the video.

Petty considers this song a ballad; it's one of his few hits without a guitar solo. There are plenty of ballads on his albums, but his record companies rarely released them as singles.

Petty and the Heartbreakers played this to close out their set at the halftime show of the Super Bowl in 2008. The song turned out to be appropriate for the New England Patriots, who were undefeated going into the game and led at halftime, only to lose at the end to the New York Giants.

Petty and Lynne wrote and recorded “Free Fallin”' in just two days, the first tune completed for Full Moon Fever. “We had a multitude of acoustic guitars”, Petty told Rolling Stone of the song's Byrds-y feel. “So it made this incredibly dreamy sound.”

Petty often tells a story about performing this song at a pivotal night in his career. His label, MCA, rejected the Full Moon Fever album when he submitted it in 1988, claiming they didn't hear a hit. Crestfallen, he went to a dinner party with George Harrison and Jeff Lynne at the home of Mo Ostin, head of Warner Bros. Records. Harrison had them break out the guitars and play "Free Fallin'”, which everyone thought was great. When Petty explained that it wasn't good enough for his label, Ostin offered to sign him and put it out. They did the deal, but kept it secret until Petty fulfilled his commitment to MCA. Ostin didn't have to put it out though: In 1989, management changed at MCA; the new regime liked Full Moon Fever and released it.

While MCA kept him in limbo, Petty teamed up with Lynne, Harrison, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan to form the Traveling Wilburys, a fruitful and highly acclaimed collaboration that sold over 3 million copies of their first album.

Here's what Tom Petty said about this song on his VH1 Storytellers appearance:

“I used to ride down Mulholland Drive and make up songs. Some of the songs were good, and some of the songs just wouldn't swing. I had this one: [sings] 'Mulholland Drive' and I never could get anywhere with that song. So, I sat down one day with my friend Jeff Lynne and we were playing around on the keyboard. I hit this lick and he said, 'That's a good lick you got there,' and I played it again. So, just to make him laugh I started to make up words:

She's a good girl, loves her mama

Loves Jesus and America too

She's a good girl, crazy about Elvis...

And he goes, 'Good'.

I said, 'What? What was good?'

'It's all good, just sing that.'”

Tom Petty official site / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Tom Petty

Image: “Full Moon Fever (album)” by Tom Petty



● This 1859 novel, set during the French revolution, is possibly the best-selling of all time, with over 200 million copies sold. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

● Pi is defined as the ratio of what two measurements? Circumference divided by Diameter of a circle.

● The Tees, The Trent, The Taw, the Trent and the Tamar are all .... whats?... of England? Rivers.


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “GEOGRAPHIC TERMS” ($200):

“In the bathroom it's a sink; on the map it's an area drained by a single river.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer National Geographic

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “GEOGRAPHIC TERMS” ($600):

“The word archipelago is from the Greek for 'chief sea', meaning this arm of the Mediterranean.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Ancient History Encyclopedia

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “GEOGRAPHIC TERMS” ($1,000):

“It's smaller than a lake, but a lake doesn't have an organism called its own type of 'scum'.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer BBC

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “COLOR” ($200):

“Idiomatically, these 2 colors paired refer to something you want in writing.”

● Answer: Black and White. Merriam Webster

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “COLOR” ($600):

“All colors on your computer screen are generated by a combination of these 3 colors.”

● Answer: Red, Green and Blue. ArsTechnica

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “COLOR” ($1,000):

“The Pinks.”

● Answer: Europa. PFAF.org

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Bedroom Burglar”

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Bedroom Burglar”

“A stupid guy dies and goes to Heaven.”

Joke of the Day

A stupid guy dies and goes to Heaven.

The gatekeeper of Heaven says, “Heaven is getting too full, so you have to pass this quiz to get in. First question: which two days of the week begin with T?”

The guy replies, “That's easy. Today and tomorrow.”

The gatekeeper says, “OK, I'll give it to you. Second question: how many seconds are in a year?”

The stupid guy says, “Twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd... .”

The gatekeeper says, “OK, OK, I'll give it to you. Last question: what is God's first name?”

The stupid guy replies, “Howard.”

The gatekeeper asks, “How on earth did you get Howard?”

The guy says, “It's right there in the prayer: Our father, who art in heaven, Howard be thy name.”